Iraqi National Security Adviser Muwaffaq Al-Rubaie praised Saudi Arabia’s “ideal” cooperation on counterterrorism in an April 23 interview with the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat.
“I state that our cooperation with the Saudis is ideal, whether in respect to the movement of persons or the transfer of finance, and we have a hotline for the exchange of prisoners and information analysis,” Al-Rubaie told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He recounted an incident in which Iraqi authorities returned six Saudis who had been detained in Iraq for three years to the Kingdom. At the handover, Saudi security officials were able to immediately identify one of the detainees as a most-wanted terrorist suspect. The detainee had lied about his identity, and the truth was only revealed thanks to the Saudi-Iraqi cooperation, Al-Rubaie said.
He added that another aspect of the cooperation between the two nations will include having Iraqi liaison officers in Saudi Arabia and Saudi liaison officers in Iraq.
“We may have our political differences with [the Saudis]. They may not like this person or that person in the Iraqi government, and our systems may be different, but our security interests are one,” Al-Rubaie said
Such cooperation with neighboring states is invaluable, he said. To foster more such cooperation, Al-Rubaie said that Iraq is calling for an agreement, coalition or Memorandum of Understanding among regional states to combat terrorism.
Al-Rubaie praised the security situation in Iraq and noted that it had come a long way in less than four years despite numerous threats. Any military resistance in Iraq will only extend the presence of foreign forces, he warned.